The landscape character assessment database for the UK and Ireland is now available

The landscape character assessment database for the UK and Ireland is now available

The Landscape Character Assessment (LCA) database includes over 500 LCAs from local to regional scale across the UK and Ireland. The openly available resource was developed with the support of Natural England, NatureScot, Natural Resources Wales, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and DAERA Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

The database offers a single resource for the landscape profession and all other professions who may use landscape character data now and in the future. It provides a starting point for the sector. You can find the draft resource here, which includes links to all available landscape character information for the UK and Ireland.

What does the database provide?

The database includes information such as the scale of assessment, publishing authority, author, format of data and date of last update and is organised into the various Landscape Institute branch regions. The database captures published Landscape Character Assessments at all levels from local, sometimes associated with a Neighbourhood Development Plan, through to regional.


According to Natural England, the definition of a Landscape Character Assessment is the process of identifying and describing variation in character of the landscape. These documents identify and explain the unique combination of elements and features that make landscapes distinctive by mapping and describing character types and areas.

In December 2020, the Landscape Institute Spatial Data Group initiated a project to review publicly available landscape character assessment information and to provide a single resource that will be of benefit to many environmental professionals.

The project prompted interest from approximately 30 volunteers in several different practices across the UK and was supported by public bodies that share in the knowledge of the benefits this resource will provide. This project included a consultation period (1st March 2022 – 20th June 2022) where Landscape Institute members, local authorities and stakeholders were invited to feedback and contribute further to this resource.

Next steps

The database will need to reflect regular updates to landscape character assessments and movement on the host authority websites. As part of future planning there are aspirations to create a collated visual resource with all the assessment data on a map.  


Your feedback and updates are critical for the success of this database so please find below a response feedback form to make us aware if you identify broken links and/or new landscape character assessments to be added. We would also like to hear from you if you or your practice has digitised the data yourself or have acquired it if not publicly available. Information and any other thoughts would be useful for the next stage of the project. 

With thanks to Charlotte Williams (AECOM), Jon Dix and Chris Bolton from Natural England, Laura Campbell from NatureScot, John Briggs from Natural Resources Wales, Tony Williams from Transport Infrastructure Ireland, and Mike Shilton from Transoft Solutions.

Sue Morgan, Chief Executive of the Landscape Institute said, “I’m proud that the Landscape Institute is part of this cross-sector partnership. As designers, we seek to transform the world for the better. But to do this, we must have accurate and current information to better understand and represent the communities we serve. We know that there are longstanding issues and gaps in our knowledge, and by pooling our collective resources and intelligence, as well as standardising our approach to gathering information, we will be able to put this data to best use – addressing systemic barriers and ultimately bringing about real, positive change.”

The Irish Landscape Institute welcomes the publication of these resources on Landscape Character Assessment (LCA). As we still await a National Landscape Character Assessment, the various LCAs included in this resource vary, to a degree,  in their analyses as there is, as yet no national guidance available. The resourcing of the National Landscape Strategy 2015 to 2025 is required, by the Irish Government, in order to carry out and provide the national level mapping and guidance required to ensure we fulfil the aspirations of the NLS. This would ensure the publication of an overall national level LCA and so assist in the planning and stewardship of all landscapes.

The resources in this may assist in establishing the LCA at the scales required for the assessment of infrastructural projects. TII Landscape Character Assessment and Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment guidance and standards are available at TII Publications. An overarching technical document is available as a summary of the methodologies and a standards document for use in National Roads Projects.” – The Irish Landscape Institute

“Natural England is delighted that the LCA catalogue has been published. The publication is the culmination of the significant effort by the Landscape Institute volunteers which pulls together a vast range of landscape evidence at multiple scales across England and the rest of the UK. In addition to its uses in landscape planning and decision-making, our landscapes increasingly need to respond to the climate and biodiversity crises, through a multiplicity of approaches. The catalogue provides a single, easy to access baseline resource to assist landscape professionals and anyone else who is involved in landscape change in these important tasks.     

We look forward to exploring ways in which the catalogue can support our evolving evidence tools such as the National Character Area Framework, landscape change monitoring and review of landscape character assessment guidance.“ – Natural England

“The new database complements our existing all-Wales LANDMAP landscape assessment database. It will be especially useful in cross-border and strategic-scale projects, making it easier to find and piece together different assessments, and promoting greater awareness of landscape in planning and decision-making.” – NaturalResources Wales

“NatureScot is pleased to see the publication of this resource. In Scotland, the LI database will provide additional information to the national LCA coverage – which will remain in its current form on the NatureScot website, and which will continue to be the starting point for searching for LCA information.” – NatureScot

“DAERA NIEA welcomes the publication of this LCA resource. The new database will complement our existing two-tier landscape assessment database (NI Regional LCA and ‘finer grained’ NILCA). We intend to revisit and refresh our LCA series in the coming years. The resource has the potential to be useful in cross-border LCA work with our colleagues in the Republic of Ireland as they move towards the possibility of a National LCA.

Sharing of best practice, in this case in relation to LCA mapping, is one of the key tenets of our work and we therefore commend the project.” – DAERA Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)

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